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SSC Newspaper : September 2011
Strathfield Scene 7 www.ourstrathfield.com.au mayoral election The new mayor will lead the council into full elections next – a poll that may see the departure of several familiar faces. what the mayoral candidates are pledging Three-way contest for top job tony maroun Liberal, three years in council pauL barron Independent, seven years in council keIth kwon Labor, seven years in council Iam very, very passionate about being the mayor of Strathfield. It is such an honour, but I can only become mayor if I get the support of my fellow councillors. So I am going to put out my credentials and say: “This is who I am. This is what we have achieved. Let me continue my mission.” I only achieve what I achieve because I have a great team at council and I have a good board of directors in terms of the general manager and all his staff. We just work magic. I am very proud of all my achievements as mayor. We have modernised the council by delegating individual portfolios to councillors. We continue to make representations to the new state government. I am a member of the party now in power, and I think that helps. I ensured Strathfield Council supported the Queensland flood relief program with a $10,000 donation. The council has renewed service agreements with community organisations like The Smith Family. I have steered council to a surplus in the last financial year. We have continued to ensure quality, efficient ser vice to the community. Council won the local sustainability and excellence in environment award and finalised acquisition of open space at the old Arnotts site. Council won an award for bio- retention at Greenacre. I have driven a good business approach. Council has started a new sister city partnership with Gapyeong County in Korea. Independent Paul Barron has been on the council since 2004 and was mayor in 2008. He will run again next month. Barron has lots of fresh ideas for the municipality, such as pushing through the new Town Centre plan and encouraging more residents to ride bicycles. “If I’m elected, there will be no talk of amalgamation because Strathfield Council has its own identity, an identity that we need to retain,” he says. Barron says improving the Town Centre is his big priority. “Cr Bill Carney has been working hard to push the Town Centre and if I’m elected, I will definitely be helping him with this project,” he says. “ The Town Centre is an important plan because there is so much traffic congestion around the railway station. And by creating an underground hub for buses, it w ill divert traffic.” Barron also hopes to push for more cycle lanes in Strathfield to encourage a healthy lifestyle in the community. “I’d endorse a cycle track to encourage a healthy lifestyle for residents,” he says. “ We have the cycle tracks along the Cooks River which many people utilise and it would be great if we could extend it to more of the roads in Strathfield.” If elected, he has pledged to work closely with other councils, plus the state and federal governments, to get the best results for Strathfield. “ We’ve got good state and federal MPs and I think I’ll be able to work very well with Charles Casuscelli to get the best results for residents.” Councillor Keith Kwon will represent the ALP in the elections. He has served as a councillor since 2004 and was mayor in 2008 and 2009. “I’m putting up my hand because I would love to continue to ser ve our local community using my previous mayoral experiences,” he says. “If I am lucky enough to be elected mayor, I will of course fulfill my duties as mayor such as presiding at meetings of the council and carrying out the civic and ceremonial duties.” In August, he brokered a sister-city agreement between Strathfield and South Korea’s Gapyeong County that will mean many future economic and cultural exchanges. “I think this will have many benefits for Strathfield over the years to come.” But Kwon says he wants to help residents at the most basic level, dealing with complaints about roads, parking and so on. “There are small issues like potholes that, for whatever reasons, have not been fixed yet. And there are the usual issues that involve traffic in and around schools and educational institutions and the continuing impact of Port Enfield.” Kwon says he will also focus on improving the Town Centre as well as retaining the village feel of Homebush. “There are some challenges regarding the Town Centre so I will explore how we can move forward with our options,” he says. “It’s also important how we keep the atmosphere of Homebush Village, as well as making the Homebush West train station user-friendly and addressing the parking problems there on weekends. By Bernadette Chua and Peter Lynch Strathfield Council’s mayoral election, which must be held by the end of this month, has become a three-horse race. The incumbent Liberal mayor, Cr Tony Maroun, Labor’s Keith Kwon and independent Paul Barron have indicated they will run for office, which is voted on by fellow councillors. The new mayor will lead the seven-member council into full elections next year – a poll that may see the departure of several familiar faces from the Strathfield political scene. Labor councillor Sundar Eswaran told the Scene he was doubtful and would probably not run in 2012, while Liberals Helen McLucas and Bill Carney said they would need to discuss the issue with their families before deciding. Labor deputy mayor Hope Brett-Bowen and Kwon said they, too, had yet to decide about next year – which could mean more than half the council’s seats could change hands. At present, the council comprises three Labor councillors, three Liberals and one independent. An election must be held by the end of September. A poll of councillors revealed that, as of last week, Brett-Bowen would vote for Kwon. None of the other councillors would reveal their preference. Maroun, who has held office for the past two years, told the Scene he would run on his record. “I am very, very passionate about being the mayor of Strathfield. It is such an honour. “I can only become mayor if I get the support of my fellow councillors. So I am going to put out my credentials and say: ‘This is who I am. This is what we have achieved. Let me continue my mission’.” Kwon said that as he neared the end of his council term, he wanted to address the issues and concerns of residents that have not been dealt with. “It’s little things like potholes, traffic issues, the continuing impact of Port Enfield and other community issues,” he said. The veteran councillor, who served as mayor between 2008 and 2009, said his past experience in the position would help him if he was re-elected. “I’m putting up my hand because I would love to continue to serve our local community using my previous mayoral experience,” he said. “If I am lucky enough to be elected, I will be extremely happy to be fulfilling my duties as mayor.” Independent Paul Barron, who was mayor in 2008, said Strathfield Council needed a local mayor. “We need a mayor who lives in Strathfield and hopefully, if I’m elected, I can bring new energy into council,” he said. “I’ve got some new ideas of what we can do and I think council needs a fresh start.” Barron’s focus is on improving the Town Centre and promoting a healthy lifestyle. “Improving the Town Centre is important not just because of the congestion but if we improve the underground hub, we can think about improving the shopping district. “This will mean greater economic growth for Strathfield and something to add to the fact that Strathfield Council is such a financially stable council.”